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Are professional chef gadgets worth the dough?

A chef in a domestic kitchen

A lot of new chef-style features have been creeping their way into our kitchen appliances. But are these ‘professional’ additions something you’re prepared to pay extra for?

If you’re keen on cooking, chances are you’re also keen on perfecting your cooking abilities and modelling yourself on one of the great chefs. Surely, in this case, any fancy chef gadgets are a welcome addition to your kitchen?

In recent years we’ve noticed a surge in top-of-the-range cooking equipment being added to lots of appliances.

In the world of ovens, some now come with a pizza mode, or an option to steam food. You can even choose a recipe function that allows you to simply set the oven to cook a type of food and it will automatically set the time. Integrated temperature probes help make sure your meat is cooked to perfection.

When it comes to cleaning up after your gourmet meals, a lot of high-end cookers come with a pyrolytic or catalytic lining that makes them self cleaning. But this added feature comes at a cost – the cheapest Best Buy built-in oven we’ve found is just over £350.

Money to burn on Electrolux-ury kitchens

The Grand Cuisine range from Electrolux is dedicated to professional cooking. Fancy features include an induction hob that heats up precise zones and the Blast Chiller that can apparently cool and freeze food speedily, even directly from the oven. There’s an eye-watering price tag attached to these features though, as prices range from £1,660 to £13,500!

Food processors and stand mixers that have been tagged as ‘professional’ and can be seen used by TV chefs, have grown in popularity during recent years. But these also come with a hefty price tag, as much as £995, and we have found Best Buy alternatives for less.

Cooking celebrity-style

Not only are add-ons becoming commonplace, but so too are the professional gadgets themselves. A great example is the SousVide Supreme Demi. The method of sous vide, where food is vacuum packed to keep the moisture in, has been used in restaurants since the 1970s. But would you want to go to these lengths at home, especially when it costs around £250?

Of course, there are plenty of professional-style gadgets that carry the name of a famous chef. Take Gordon Ramsey’s Cooks food processor (£159) or Jamie Oliver’s Multi Cook (£70) for instance. Do they live up to their celebrity names?

If you don’t want to shell out on new appliances, it’s worth checking the ones you already own. There are plenty of hidden kitchen gadget features out there, like breadmakers that can make jam and slow cookers that can cook a roast.

Are you willing to cough up the dough for a professional feature or gadget? Or would you rather stick to perfecting your chef style without a helping hand?


Sorry in advance for the long post!

Its all about marketing and making money, not about the brand or its initial design promise. Largely I have found celebrity tagged machines don’t last. Argos is a good example of this – they tend to sell the basic “juicer” model alongside a near identical one save for the celebrity name tagged to it and a massive price difference. Having said that, my late parents bought a Jack La Lanne juicer nearly 20 years ago. It is still going, bought not so much for the name but for the design of being able to chuck a whole apple down the chute without needing to cut everything first.

Also a few new appliances that have appeared on the market has certain influences from other countries due to customer demand and what the customer sees from advertising and other types of media. We would never have had the Kenwood-Go-Smoothie machine had it not been for the demand for the “Magic Bullet” sold exclusively on satellite TV. These things are just not essential given that cheaper, but bulkier liquidisers have been on the market since the 1960s, some of which can already “crush ice” and make smoothies without advertising it.

One other gripe that I have noticed is from Kenwood themselves. How many Chef models do they need to keep releasing? If it isn’t a special edition colour, to a retro version, to one that cooks and another that offers another motor on top, to “professional” tagged attachments that appear to have just had a cosmetic colour change over the original part, usually source able at a far cheaper cost than from the high street or from the brand themselves. They’ve also gone onto copy Kitchenaid from the U.S with just as highly priced retro kitchen mixers.

A lot of brands would like to think households have all the money in the world – but in reality and with a fast paced life these days – I don’t think many are up to cooking all of the time in the capacities that those brands would like to think. Sometimes I think it is very patronising. My latest LG washer for example has a smart diagnostic panel whereby if I shove my smartphone up to its icon on the control panel, it can dictate through Fax sounds to the customer service department as to what is wrong with it. Well LG also supply a very good user manual – I can read – but using that “helpful” design element means you’d have to pay for the premium service on your phone bill. LG may well point it out, but I find those kind of things utterly pointless.